|Hakan is fed up with Istanbul's car traffic, and who can blame him?|
While many of the ideas are new and untested, i.e. of uncertain merit, one sure mental foothold is bicycling. In the course of the project, we had a "graphic facilitation" activity called Sketch. In this, artists accost random people on the street, and interview them about their gripes and wishes for cities. The artists sketch it down in charcoal pencil, and have so far produced 400 drawings from 10 cities in 10 countries.
As scans of each country's sketches go up on the project website, you'll see serious ideas about democracy: "Maria wants a public forum where citizens can express their ideas". And a few ideas out of San Francisco, circa 1968: a public park dedicated to laughing (Prague) and my favourite one from Brussels: "Pascal wants more naked dance!"
The ideas are rich and varied, but one thing loads of people from every country agree on is bicycles. Bikes, as much as ample green space, are widely recognised as key ingredients of the ideal city. I think this is cool, particularly since it goes against the grain of "innovation". Many EU research projects emphasise innovation, which I suppose is natural. Why spend research efforts on what we already know? Then again, when we're trying to find ways to improve cities, innovation is just one approach. Sometimes the best ideas are right under our noses.
Below is a small sample of the bike-related sketches in the Seismic project's archive.
|Oliver thinks Queen Elizabeth should set an example and ride a bike -- as the Dutch royals do.|
|I agree with Grace. Tolerance is over-rated! At least when it comes to cars.|
|Peter shows that, contrary to popular belief, cycling's not just for masochists.|
|There's a lot of pent-up hostility toward cars.|